Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Latest Available Pronouncements

page 82

Latest Available Pronouncements.

The following extracts from the latest issues of the 'Journal of [unclear: Fducation] the 'Spectator,' etc., show clearly the trend of progress in Education, and [unclear: neca] to further comment :—

'Journal of Education.'

Training Colleges.

It was a well-deserved compliment that the Government paid to their ex-Minister of Education in selecting Mr Acland to announce their intention of defraying by Treasury grants three-fourths of the expense that any Local Authority may incur in founding new local training colleges. Let us hope that this provision will not be restricted to primary education.

Mr. Acland on Examinations.

Mr Acland, in addressing the Conference of the National Union of Teachers at Scarborough, was very outspoken in his denunciation of examination diplomas and certificates. He thought that anyone who could strike out five-sixths of the examinations of this country, and who would carry away and deposit on the Dogger Hank whole ship-loads of certificates, would be doing a very effective public service. We heartily agree with Mr Acland. . . . Fifty years ago examinations were good, and served a useful purpose. They have now become a tyranny, and seem likely to squeeze the life out of education. Gradually, little by little, so insidiously that the danger is hardly apparent to the worker, teachers are becoming slaves to the examination system. . . But, if a master will deliberately set himself to inquire why he has so far departed from the ideal, he may find the answer in the examinations for which he is bound to prepare his pupils to the best of his ability, and which have deadened and formalised his teaching. Many masters also are never at their best, because they are filled with hourly worry lest their pupils will not know their work and do creditably in the examination—a state of mind absolutely hostile to good teaching.

Mind and Body.

The discussions that have recently taken place with regard to physical degeneration, the feeding of school-children, medical inspection, and the like have brought to the front, and impressed upon the public mind, views that to many are startlingly fresh. For thirty years we have tried to educate the mind while neglecting the body. As a nation we are only just growing out of the shackles of the Puritas teaching that looked upon the body as a vessel of clay the proper care of which was unworthy of a seriously-minded man. We now know and the knowledge is slowly permeating the people, that the same blood nourishes muscle and brain alike; we know that in the average man the development of moral character and of intellectual power needs a body fitly nourished and warmly clothed. We are not prepared to argue that the State should directly concern itself with feeding and clothing except by the dissemination of know ledge; though in the long run such an expenditure would probably prove to be less than we pay now for lunatic asylums, prisons, homes, and hospitals of al sorts. But we are inclined to blame the medical profession in the past for keeping too jealously to itself the secrets of good health. Knowledge as to the laws of health had to be sought in long, forbidding, technical treatises, or else in the writings of quacks, whose conclusions were rightly looked upon with suspicion. But of recent years the doctors have realised their duties a citizens. The most eminent of the profession—Sir Lauder Brunton, Sir Thoma Barlow, and Sir Crichton Browne—have taken the lead in organising congresse of hygiene and arousing educators to a sense of their physical responsibilities. They have even induced the Head-masters' Conference to appoint a special committee.

page 83

Manual Training.

The ninth annual Conference of the National Association of Manual Training Teachers was held in the middle of last month at Sheffield. Perhaps to-day we are all convinced of the value of training in handicraft. Two things stand inthe way of translating conviction into action. In the first place, we are accustomed to rely upon the "Reader." It is so simple, so easy, and, above all, so cheap Sixty shilling "Readers." bought at the net price of sevenpence halfpenny, will last a class for years. And when the desire and the energy necessary for making a change have been aroused we are met by the cry of expense. If in our public elementary schools the nation would bear the cost of three teachers where at present there is one, other difficulties would soon be overcome. No one proposes to teach sixty, or even forty, children together in a workshop. It is m the multiplication of teachers that the real expense lies Reforms are not carried out in a moment; all that can be done at present is to continue to represent the need, and to trust to insistence and to time The brain centres controlling the hand and the faculty of speech are closely contiguous There is no ground for believing that the atrophy of the one will strengthen the other.


Almost everyone who has considered the matter is agreed that the education given in public elementary schools is largely unsuitable, and fails, therefore, in its object. We have always maintained that book learning is predominant solely by reason of its cheapness. But many individuals and some educational authorities are boldly taking the matter in hand, and are devising a more rational curriculum. This will certainly include a greater amount of hand and eye training, a fuller attempt to develop the body, and an endeavor to make the education suit the circumstances i.e., to give the child that knowledge and skill that he needs to enable him to adapt himself more suitably to his environment. Among the subjects that will be taught to all girls, and not merely, as at present, to a select few will undoubtedly be cookery At a recent meeting of the Northern Union of Domestic Economy Associations, Miss Dunn read a paper entitled 'Science in the Kitchen' She repeated a statement that is often made nowadays, but which needs to be said again and again until it has impressed itself upon the national consciousness and then become reflected in the practice of cooks and housekeepers. It is that the indifferent health that seems to be the curse of the time is more often than not due to faulty nutrition, the direct result of errors in diet. The thermometer and the scales must become kitchen utensils. Perhaps more important still is the possession of a simple knowledge of the value of food from the point of view of nutrition.